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About This Course
What you will learn:
  • What is Visual Merchandising?

  • General Principles in Putting Displays Together

  • Mannequins

  • Stands and Other Store Fixtures Used in Visual Merchandising

  • Planning Store Layouts

  • Displaying Home Accessories, Homeware and Food

  • Merchandising Shoes and Fashion Accessories

  • Creating Effective Sales and Clearance Campaigns

  • Issues in 21st Century Visual Merchandising

Study Visual Merchandising course and Learn to Drive Sales and Build Image via Visual Merchandising course

Our Visual Merchandising course offers the opportunity to learn how to use a key retailing strategy effectively. When used effectively, visual merchandising can help drive sales, inspire customer loyalty, improve the customer’s buying experience and communicate brand core values and principles.

This visual merchandising and display program is an ideal introduction to the concepts and practices of this valuable marketing tool. 

In this course, you’ll discover the visual merchandising principles that can be applied when working within any type of visual merchandising team. You’ll discover the best way to arrange in-store displays and store design, practical tasks that can help you get some experience, and you’ll learn more about fashion design and fashion marketing.

After completing the online course, you will thoroughly understand what it takes to design and run a fashion merchandising display campaign that has impact and bite.

The beauty of studying for a visual merchandising certificate is that while the content deals primarily with visual sales displays within a retail setting, much of the learning can be applied equally in various other art/design niches.  

The knowledge you gain through completing a visual merchandising course online can be applied in other formats like interior design, web design and graphic design for e-commerce sites, exhibition design and even event planning.

What you will learn with our Visual Merchandising diploma course

  • Know and understand what visual merchandising is and the important role that it has.

  • Be acquainted with changes in the practices of visual merchandising that have occurred over time.

  • Know the types of internal and external displays available to use in a campaign

  • Understand the underlying principles of designs instore and how to create a winning display.

  • Know how to use planograms as a daily guide.

  • Know how to use mannequins for maximum sales impact.

  • Be familiar with fixtures and fittings commonly employed to make an impressive, attention-grabbing visual display.

  • Appreciate why you need to understand what goes into building an effective store layout

  • Know how to exhibit home furnishings and associated products to promote sales and improve customer engagement

  • Appreciate the challenges associated with shoe and accessories displays

  • Appreciate the key role that visual merchandising plays in successful sales campaigns

  • Know the key challenges facing merchandisers today and how these challenges shape visual merchandising

  • Understand how to launch a career in this profession

  • Identify alternative career paths that visual merchandising experience opens up

Visual Merchandising course - Requirements

The Visual Merchandising course is delivered 100 percent online.

To successfully complete this course, a student must:

  • Have access to the internet and the necessary technical skills to navigate the online learning resources

  • Have access to any mobile device with internet connectivity (laptop, desktop, tablet)

  • Be a self-directed learner

  • Possess sound language and literacy skills

If you have any concerns about this visual merchandising certificate course, view our frequently asked questions or get in touch with our team to discuss. We can inform you of any entry requirements, tuition fee and provide you with a comprehensive overview of the course details as required.

Quick Course Facts

  1. Course content is structured for easy comprehension

  2. Registered students gain unrestricted access to the Visual Merchandising course

  3. All course material is available online 24/7 and can be accessed using any device

  4. Study online from anywhere in your own time at your own pace

  5. All students who complete the course will be awarded with a certificate of completion

Visual Merchandising Course Description

Module 1: What is Visual Merchandising

Visual merchandising is the art of arranging products within a retail environment in such a way that consumers are encouraged to buy the products.

What are the Aims of Visual Merchandising?

  • To facilitate the customer’s path around the store

  • To encourage customers to buy more items

  • To improve the level of service that customers receive

  • To create an atmosphere in line with the retailer’s image

  • To leave a positive impression on the customer

How Visual Merchandising Sells Products

As you may imagine, psychologists have invested considerable time and effort into understanding the factors underpinning individual buying decisions. The following are a few ways in which good visual merchandising can increase the likelihood of a sale.

The Skills and Qualities you Need to Succeed as a Visual Merchandiser

  • A desire to keep up with the latest fashion trends

  • The ability to manage other people

  • The ability to work with design software and drawing equipment

  • An interest in consumer psychology and human behavior

This module will also discuss:

  • What does a Visual Merchandiser do on a Day-to-day Basis?

  • The Differences between Visual, Fashion and Retail Merchandising

  • Career Paths and Training Options for People Wishing to Work in Visual Merchandising

Module 2: General Principles in Putting Displays Together

In this module, students will learn the basic rules that visual merchandisers follow when putting together a display.

The Main Different Types of Display Used in Retail Environments

  • Single item display

  • Variety display

  • Related items display

  • Single-line display

  • Build-up display

Use of Lighting

There are three main types of lighting used in retail displays: primary lighting, store illumination and atmospheric lighting.

  • Primary lighting

  • Store illumination

  • Atmospheric lighting

Use of Color

Color exerts a significant impact on people’s moods, and visual merchandisers take this into account when putting together a display.

Use of Line and Balance within Displays

  • Vertical

  • Horizontal

  • Diagonal

  • Arcs and Curves

The Importance of Balance in a Display

Most of us are not familiar with the intricacies of design theory, but we can usually tell whether a collection of objects looks ‘right’.

Contrast, Proportion and Repetition

Creating a dissonance between two elements is almost guaranteed to attract the attention of someone walking past a display.

Telling a Story within a Display

The best displays convey a sense of story and narrative.

Module 3: Mannequins

Mannequins fall into the uncanny realm – the fine line between human and non-human. People react strongly to mannequins, particularly those on the more realistic end of the spectrum.

The Various Types of Mannequins Available

  • Realistic mannequins

  • Semi-realistic mannequins

  • Abstract mannequins

  • Semi-abstract mannequins

  • Headless mannequins

Mannequin Positions – Standing, Sitting, Horizontal and Vertical

Retailers have come to appreciate that mannequins placed in more natural poses can encourage customers to imagine how a piece of clothing may look on a real human body, as opposed to a piece of plastic that roughly approximates the shape of a generic person.

How to Care for Mannequins

A high-quality mannequin is a sound investment. But in order to keep them looking good and keep them structurally sound, they must be cared for by trained staff who understand their structure and function.

How to Dress Mannequins

Some mannequins are molded so that they cannot be taken apart and must be dressed in the same manner as a rigid doll.

Alternatives to Mannequins

Whilst mannequins are a key staple for many retailers, they are not always the most appropriate choice for a display.

Display techniques

  • Lay-down

  • Pin-up

  • Flying

Module 4: Stands and Other Store Fixtures Used in Visual Merchandising

A fixture is a piece of furniture or an accessory that is designed to hold, store and display products.

Arranging Fixtures and Fittings – Front-to-Back Display

Whatever type of fixtures a visual merchandiser chooses to use, the principle of the front-to-back display will normally dictate how they are to be placed on the shop floor.

The Most Common Types of Stands Used in Retail Environments

  • Garment racks

  • Panels

  • Pegboard

  • Gondolas

  • Étagères

  • Cube units

  • Tables


Signs are used to guide customers around the store and alert them to special offers or promotions.

Topics in this module include:

  • How Easy is it to Install Various Types of Fixtures?

  • How to Choose the Best Type of Fixture for an Attractive Display?

  • The Dominance Factor

  • Using the Back Wall

Module 5: Planning Store Layouts

Store planning is the art of mapping out how the walls, doors, windows, ceilings, floors, fixtures and fittings within a store can be optimized, to improve the shopper’s experience and encourage them to spend more money.

What are the Differences between Store Planning and Visual Merchandising?

A store planner will usually have a background in architecture, interior design or both. They need to possess a good understanding of how buildings are constructed and must be able to produce accurate blueprints and diagrams that use standard architectural conventions.

Why Should a Visual Merchandiser Take an Interest in Store Planning?

  • It allows them to troubleshoot weak spots

  • It allows them to understand any upcoming changes

  • It may lead to new career opportunities

Why is Store Planning so Important?

The experience of entering and navigating a store will determine a customer’s overall impression of the retailer.

The Most Common Types of Store Layout

  • Grid floor plan/Straight

  • Grid floor plan/Diagonal

  • Loop floor plans

  • Free flow floor plans

What Tools are Used to Draw up a Store Plan?

Until the advent of widespread computer-based technology, designers and architects would have to rely solely on their technical drawing skills, when producing blueprints. Over the past few decades, computer applications have become ever more sophisticated and play a key role in the design process.

Module 6: Displaying Home Accessories, Homeware and Food

This course has primarily focused on visual merchandising in relation to fashion and personal accessories. This is because most merchandisers are particularly interested in these areas, with many people entering the retail industry as a result of their interest in fashion.

The Difference between ‘Homeware’ and ‘Home Accessories’

Homeware is the term given to furniture, utensils and ornaments sold for use in the home.

Key Points to Bear in Mind When Displaying Homeware and Home Accessories

Natural settings are useful in communicating how products ‘come together’. Shoppers like to be able to imagine what a product will look like in their own home, and they like to know how various home accessories will look when positioned in close proximity.

Displaying Fabrics and Common Fabric-based Items

  • Rolls of fabric

  • Bed linen

  • Towels

Module 7: Merchandising Shoes and Fashion Accessories

Visual merchandising is perhaps most often discussed in the context of clothing displays, but it is a vital factor in the successful retailing of shoes and fashion accessories.

How to Merchandise Shoes

An effective shoe display highlights the range available within a store while underlining the functionality specific to one particular kind of shoe.

What Props and Tools are Used When Displaying Shoes?

  • Stuffing

  • Tags

  • Gridwall or slatwall panels and shelves

How to Merchandise Jewelry

Jewelry can either be shown in the context of an overall look, displayed alongside other pieces or highlighted as a single product.

How to Display Hats

Although many styles of hats are designed with function in mind, they may also be perceived as festive or even frivolous accessories.

How to Merchandise Bags

Shoppers do not ‘wear’ bags in the strict sense of the word. Nevertheless, they tend to regard them as extensions of their outfits.

How to Display Scarves and Gloves

As with shoes and handbags, customers want to know what a scarf looks like when worn and how it can be combined with other garments and accessories to create a stylish look.

Module 8: Creating Effective Sales and Clearance Campaigns

An in-store or window display is usually put together to draw a shopper’s attention to one or more products available.

Using Graphics and Signage to Promote a Sale

Signs are the primary means by which a retailer communicates to customers that they are holding a sale.

Arranging Marked-down Products in a Shop Window

When arranging window displays during a sale, the key rule is never to include specific products marked down for sale.

Using Symbolism to Engage

Shoppers During Sales Symbolism, within the context of themed displays, is highly effective in enticing a shopper to enter the store and look at the discounted lines.

Arranging Marked-down Products Inside a Store

How products are arranged inside a store varies depending on the retailer’s image, the size of the sale, the target demographic and the value of the stock.

Maintaining a Consistent Brand Image

Most stores hold sales or clearance campaigns when they need to shift stock to make way for new lines.

Maintaining an Attractive Sales Display

Products that have been put on sale are more likely than others to be handled by customers.

Module 9: Issues in 21st Century Visual Merchandising

Changes in Modern Retail

Retailers have always been forced to compete with others selling similar products and have always had to consider how they can best accommodate the latest trends.

How do Retailers Keep up with Developments within the Industry?

  • Trade journals

  • Conference

  • Sales data

  • Consumer surveys and panels

The Rise of Online Commerce

The most significant change confronting modern retailers is the increasing role of online shopping in the retail landscape.

Will Real-life Stores become Obsolete?

Over the years, there has been much speculation about the fate of real-life stores.

  • Online shopping

  • Real-life retailers

Module 10: Starting and Furthering Your Career as a Visual Merchandiser

Summary/What you will Learn

  • Why you need to take a proactive approach to advance within the retail industry;

  • What you need to consider before studying a formal qualification, and how to choose the right course for you;

  • The options available to you with regards to working hours and environments;

  • How to keep up with changing trends in the retail industry;

  • The typical career paths open to visual merchandisers;

  • Why you should consider joining the British Display Society, to boost your career prospects.

From entry-level store positions to senior management roles, working in the retail sector offers you the opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives at a day-to-day level.

Further Information and Learning

The beauty of studying with CFS is that you can study abroad as an international student and still receive the same qualification as every other student. The graduate outcomes are the same no matter where you are located.

For course students who have an interest in continuing professional development, CFS also provides a variety of other courses. Student enrolment is easy and our online learning system is easy to understand. On completion of courses, you’ll have lifetime access to the materials provided. Get in touch to request information or simply browse through the courses online.


Recognition & Accreditation

Upon successfully completing this course and achieving a passing score for the assessment, you will be issued an international continuing education credit (CEU) certificate.

This Certificate is applicable worldwide, demonstrating your commitment to learning new skills. You can share the certificate with your friends, relatives, co-workers, and potential employers. Also, include it in your resume/CV, professional social media profiles and job applications.

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Units of Study

Module 1: What Is Visual Merchandising?

  • What is meant by the term ‘visual merchandising’;
  • The key aims of visual merchandising as a retail practice;
  • The history of visual merchandising;
  • Why visual merchandising is important and effective in selling products;

Module 2: General Principles in Putting Displays Together

  • Why key design principles are the foundation of every successful display;
  • The most common types of display used in retail environments;
  • How to use lighting, to make merchandise more appealing to the customer;
  • How colour can be employed, to display products to good effect;

Module 3: Mannequins

  • The advantages of using mannequins, to display clothing and accessories;
  • How to care for and store mannequins;
  • How to dress a mannequin;
  • The various forms available that can replace or supplement mannequins;

Module 4: Stands and Other Store Fixtures Used in Visual Merchandising

  • What is meant by the term ‘fixture’, in the context of the retail industry;
  • The relationship between the fixtures used in visual merchandising and the way in which a product or line of products is displayed;
  • The various types of stands used in retail environments and how they can enhance a display;
  • How to use platforms and elevations, to show off store merchandise;

Module 5: Planning Store Layouts

  • What is meant by the term ‘store planning’;
  • How the role of a store planner differs from that of a visual merchandiser;
  • Why visual merchandisers should take the time to become familiar with the purposes of store planning, and how it is carried out in practice;
  • The key purposes and aims of store design;

Module 6: Displaying Home Accessories, Homeware and Food

  • The types of merchandise that fall under the category of home accessories (also known as ‘home fashions’;
  • The importance of setting the scene and using lifestyle themes, when displaying homeware and home accessories;
  • How to display small and fragile goods in a safe, aesthetically pleasing manner;
  • How to use mannequins in the promotion of homeware;

Module 7: Merchandising Shoes and Fashion Accessories

  • Why the presentation of shoes, jewellery and fashion accessories is just as important as that of clothes;
  • The most common props used by visual merchandisers, in order to display items in these categories;
  • How to present shoes, in order to form an attractive display;
  • How to display jewellery in a way that catches the eye of the customer;

Module 8: Creating Effective Sales and Clearance Campaigns

  • How visual merchandising plays an essential role in the performance of a sales campaign;
  • How to use signs, to promote a sale, and the most effective words and phrases to use, in encouraging sales;
  • How to use symbolism, to communicate price reductions;
  • How to use mannequins and other props, to draw attention to a sale;

Module 9: Issues in 21st Century Visual Merchandising

  • Why retail does not stand still, and how retailers can stay abreast of the latest trends;
  • The rise of online shopping and its implications for visual merchandising;
  • Why omnichannel retailing is growing in popularity and the implications of this trend, for those working in visual merchandising;
  • The role of pop-up shops in contemporary retail and how a visual merchandiser can put together effective displays, in these environments;

Module 10: Starting and Furthering Your Career as a Visual Merchandiser

  • Why you need to take a proactive approach, in order to advance within the retail industry;
  • What you need to consider, before studying a formal qualification, and how to choose the right course for you;
  • The options available to you with regards to working hours and environments;
  • How to keep up with changing trends in the retail industry;

Entry requirements

Students must have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Minimum education

Open entry. Previous schooling and academic achievements are not required for entry into this course.

Computer requirements

Students will need access to a computer and the internet.

Minimum specifications for the computer are:


Microsoft Windows XP, or laterModern and up to date Browser (Internet Explorer 8 or later, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)


OSX/iOS 6 or laterModern and up to date Browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

All systems

Internet bandwidth of 1Mb or fasterFlash player or a browser with HTML5 video capabilities(Currently Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

Students will also need access the following applications:

Adobe Acrobat Reader


Entry requirements:

Students must have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Minimum education:

Open entry. Previous schooling and academic achievements are not required for entry into this course.

Device requirements:

Students will need access to a computer/any device and the internet.


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Visual Merchandising Online Certificate Course

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Our Visual Merchandising  Course will help you drive sales, inspire customer loyalty, improve the customer’s buying experience and communicate brand core values and principles.

Plus, you can learn more with course bundles, see all bundle options below. 

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